NEWARK, Del. - - The Wilmington University men's basketball team couldn't overcome a slow start on Saturday afternoon, falling to Caldwell, 78-67, in a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference cross-divisional contest at the WU Athletics Complex.
The Wildcats (9-11, 6-5 CACC) were down by as many as 19 points in the first half but clawed and fought back to bring it to an eight-point game at the half. The Wildcats continued to fight in the second half, closing the gap to as few as four points before Caldwell (11-10, 7-5 CACC) stepped on the gas pedal again and ended the comeback bid.
Caldwell jumped out to an 8-0 lead before the Wildcats could even get on the board with their first bucket at the 16:01 mark of the first half. The visitors continued to lead, 13-2, and took their first 10-point lead with a three-pointer, 20-8, with 9:51 showing on the clock. The Cougars took their largest lead of the game, 27-8, with 7:21 left in the half, as the Wildcats' offense was sputtering.
The Wildcats started the game 3-for-17 (17.6%) from the floor, including 0-for-3 from three-point territory, when they found themselves down 27-8 with 6:07 on the scoreboard.
But a 6-0 run brought the Wildcats to within 30-19 and they ended the half on another 5-0 run to only head into the halftime break down eight, 32-24.
Down 10 early in the second half, Xavier Alston started a run with a layup followed by buckets from Thomas Farrior and Jermaine Head to get within 45-41 with 14:38 left in regulation, forcing Caldwell into a timeout.
Out of the timeout, the Cougars ran off seven straight to get back out to an 11-point lead. Thomas Farrior and Omari Dill-Pettiford put in layups to cut the deficit to five-points, but that would be as close as the Wildcats would get the rest of the way. Another 8-0 run, including back-to-back three-pointers, put the Cougars up 67-53, with 8:36 to play and the Cougars held a double-digit lead the rest of the way.
Jermaine Head led the Wildcats with 20 points on 5-of-9 shooting, adding 10-of-12 from the foul line. Thomas Farrior collected a double-double with 19 point and 11 rebounds while Danny Walsh and Omari Dill-Pettiford scored 10 points each.
The Wildcats were out-rebounded, 50-33, giving up 18-second chance points. They were also outscored in the paint, 36-26. Wilmington led the CACC in three-point shooting as a team coming into Saturday's matchup, but went 3-for-20 from outside the arc against the Cougars.
The Wildcats remain at home for another contest, as they make up their postponed contest against Dominican on Thursday night. The CACC doubleheader begins with the women at 6:00 p.m., followed by the men's game at 8:00 p.m.